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Russell Wilson must dig Seahawks out of unfamiliar territory

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The phrase Pete Carroll used to describe the Seattle Seahawks' 38-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday was "rare occurrence."

And he was right.

In 86 games (regular season and postseason) with Russell Wilson as starting quarterback, the Seahawks had never lost by more than 10 points -- until Sunday, that is.

"I put that on me," Wilson said afterward. "That game was on me."

It was an out-of-character performance for Wilson on a few different levels. The numbers were bad -- 22-for-39 for 240 yards, one touchdown and a career-high five interceptions (at least two of which were not his fault).

But the turnovers aside, he missed on several throws he usually makes.

"He had a hard time [Sunday]," Carroll said. "He missed a couple of balls deep that he usually hits. I think he missed Jimmy [Graham]. And those would have been great opportunities for us early in the game when we would've been able to hang with them and stay with it. It could've been entirely different. The thing just snowballed on them, on us, and it just turned out to be a terrible night."

Asked about the offensive line's pass protection, Carroll said, "I don't think that was the issue. We got rushed some, but I don't feel like that was the issue [Sunday]."

Injuries to Wilson?

"No," Carroll said. "He's fine."

That's what was so strange about Wilson's performance. Protection was better than it has been for much of the season and Wilson appears to be healthy -- relatively speaking. But he was just off.

In the past three games, Wilson is 65-for-108 (60.2 percent) for 668 yards (6.19 YPA), two touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Entering Week 12, Wilson had a passer rating under 45 once in 74 career regular-season games. He has been below that mark twice in the past three games.

Seahawks players acknowledged everyone needs to play better than they did against the Packers. The receivers struggled with drops. And the defense allowed Aaron Rodgers to post a passer rating of 150.3, the highest mark of any opposing quarterback since Carroll became the Seahawks' coach in 2010.

Going into Sunday, the Seahawks were 17-3 in regular-season games in December or January with Wilson and Carroll.

"I am not used to this feeling," linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "And it is not a feeling I want to get used to."

The Seahawks showed earlier this season in New England that when they are on, they can beat any team in the NFL. But they've also shown in the past three weeks that they have flaws.

The defense has a tremendous track record and the Seahawks have been mostly consistent on that side of the ball.

The running game continues to show signs of life, and while the offensive line was not the issue Sunday, the Seahawks know what they have there.

Wilson is the one who will make the difference. He consistently has shown he can rebound from tough outings and correct his mistakes. As defensive end Cliff Avril explained, if the Seahawks finish strong in their last three games, Sunday's outing against the Packers will be forgotten.

"We can’t take it for granted that we’re just going to win," Avril said. "We’ve got to go out there and play, so it’s not a surprise. We’ve just got to make things happen. Things don’t happen on their own. We’ve got to collectively, as a group, everybody, go out and play lights out. But we still have three games in December. If we win these three games, y’all won’t talk about this."

The Seahawks face the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night. They need to make up a game on the Detroit Lions in the final three weeks to be in position for a first-round bye.

The ceiling for this team is still high, but Wilson's performance down the stretch will determine whether the Seahawks reach it.